The group, which also includes Nokia Siemens Networks, offered to build the network for 16.3 billion baht ($524 million), Arnon Tubtiang, TOT’s senior executive vice president, said in Bangkok today after an auction. The network will provide nationwide coverage in a year, he said.
An attempt to delay the auction by a group led by Ericsson AB failed late yesterday when a Thai court dismissed its request for an injunction. Rival groups, including one led by ZTE Corp., had complained they were unfairly disqualified from bidding.
State-controlled TOT is expanding its network because regulatory hurdles have prevented Thailand’s mobile-phone companies from building their own high-speed networks. Advanced Info Service Pcl, Total Access Communication Pcl and True Corp. have been forced to strike deals with TOT and state-run CAT Telecom Pcl to offer so-called third generation mobile services.
The offer is “an appropriate price as the company uses high-quality products,” Samart President Watchai Vilailuck said. The company is in talks with Bangkok Bank Pcl, Kasikornbank Pcl and Krung Thai Bank Pcl to help finance the project.
Samart shares rose 7.3 percent to 8.8 baht as of 11:59 a.m. local time, their biggest gain since Sept. 22. Loxley advanced 7.6 percent to 2.82 baht, poised for its highest close in more than a week.
Samart’s bid was 6.6 percent lower than the median price of 17.4 billion baht, TOT’s Arnon said. TOT will further negotiate the offer with Samart and announce a final price for the project at the end of this month. TOT is expected to start 3G services in Bangkok in April, he said.
Samart’s bid was lower than one from a group comprising Advanced Information Technology Pcl, a unit of Alcatel-Lucent SA and United Communication Industry Pcl.
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